What if you could take your medicine in a fun and tasty way—by eating a chocolate bar or chewing on a gummy bear? This is what CBD edibles promise: a medicinal dose of CBD with a bunch of sugar to make it more palatable. But amongst a sea of CBD cookies, lollipops and granola, consumers can feel lost. Are CBD edibles actually effective? Are they the right option for you? And how do you choose a high-quality edible product? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to CBD edibles to answer all of your questions.
What is CBD?
First, a few words on CBD. For those who don’t know, CBD is a molecule that is extracted from the cannabis plant. It’s classified as a cannabinoid compound: a class of substances that can have many benefits on the body and mind.
CBD is sometimes mistaken for THC, but these substances are very different. THC is the psychoactive substance in cannabis, meaning it creates a high when it binds to receptors in our bodies. CBD binds to the same receptors, but in a different way. So instead of making you feel high, it brings a wealth of health benefits.
For example, scientists have found that CBD:
- Lowers pain and inflammation
- Fights anxiety and depression
- Treats epilepsy
- Decreases blood pressure
- Protects from neurodegenerative diseases
And these are just a few examples. With so many uses for CBD, we’ve seen the market grow exponentially over the past couple of years. Today, CBD edibles are one of the most popular ways to take CBD. Why is that, and are they actually the best option?
Why CBD edibles?
In order to have an effect on the body, CBD has to be “activated” by heating it up. With some forms of CBD consumption like smoking or vaping, you have to activate the CBD yourself by burning it. But when making edibles, manufacturers activate the CBD for you, meaning all you have to do is ingest it to get the benefits.
For people who don’t want to smoke, CBD edibles are a good option. And because they also tend to come with a lower price tag, they might be the first choice for those who are new to CBD. Here are the main pros and cons of CBD edibles:
- No smoke: you don’t have to smoke when taking CBD edibles, which protects your lungs.
- Easy: popping a CBD gummy into your mouth is fast and easy. No measuring, no cooking process, just CBD straight into your body.
- Discreet: when you take CBD in edible form, nobody knows you’re medicating.
- Affordable: CBD edibles tend to have a lower price per milligram compared to some other options like CBD buds or CBD topicals.
- Low bioavailability: compared to smoking, vaping, or placing CBD drops under the tongue, edibles make CBD less bioavailable. This means that a lower percentage of CBD actually enters your bloodstream when you’re taking an edible. So even though they may be cheaper, 20 mg of edible CBD may be less potent than 15 mg of CBD through vaping.
- No instant relief: when you take a CBD edible, you have to wait at least 30 minutes to feel any effects.
- Not always healthy: with CBD edibles, you also have to read the ingredient list. Some CBD candy is full of processed sugar and corn syrup.
CBD edibles: who are they for?
CBD edibles are a great option for many, but are they right for you?
CBD edibles and different conditions
The first thing you have to consider is the reason why you’re taking CBD. Because they provide slow and steady relief, CBD edibles may be more suited to treat long-term or chronic conditions such as:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders
And because CBD edibles are processed in the digestive tract, they can be particularly useful to people with digestive issues. So if you’re taking CBD to treat IBS or stomach ulcers, edibles might be your best option.
On the other hand, people who take CBD for acute conditions might want a product that provides faster relief (such as a CBD oil placed under the tongue, or a CBD vape).
Whether you want to take CBD edibles is a matter of personal taste. They can be great for people who:
- Don’t smoke and don’t want to smoke
- Don’t enjoy swallowing pills
- Don’t like the taste of CBD
- Want to try out a tasty option
- Want an affordable CBD product
How do CBD edibles make you feel?
After you’ve taken a CBD edible, you’ll have to wait at least 30 minutes before you feel any effects. Edibles release CBD into the body slowly and steadily, meaning that you shouldn’t expect a strong reaction. After 30 minutes to a few hours, you might start to notice that you are more relaxed. Your body will be less tense, and you may have fewer thoughts racing through your mind. If you suffer from pain or inflammation, you should be starting to feel a decrease in those symptoms as well.
However, it’s also completely possible that you won’t feel any effect from taking CBD edibles. This doesn’t mean they aren’t working. To see if CBD edibles have a positive effect on you, it’s a good idea to keep a journal. Over a week of taking CBD edibles, keep a record of your symptoms: how much pain are you feeling? How anxious are you? How is your digestion?
This is the best way to tell how CBD edibles are actually affecting your body, and whether they are working for you.
Types of CBD edibles
When it comes to CBD edibles, you have an incredible array of options. From CBD gummy bears to CBD salted caramel chocolate bars, it can be hard to wrap your head around all the possibilities. But don’t get distracted by all the different flavors and brands; the most important thing to find out about an edible is what kind of CBD it uses, and in what concentration.
Understanding the CBD in edibles
Edibles contain one of three types of CBD:
- Full-spectrum CBD
- Broad-spectrum CBD
- CBD isolate
Full-spectrum CBD is rarer, and not legal in all countries. It’s a substance that contains CBD, alongside other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and other compounds such as terpenes. Depending on the product, it may contain traces of THC or more significant amounts. These products can be good because you’ll benefit from the combined action of many different cannabinoids. However, they aren’t suitable for children and may not be available in your country.
Broad-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids of hemp, with the exception of THC. You can expect broad-spectrum CBD products to have a good amount of terpenes and cannabinoids like CBA or CBN. However, you never have to worry about them causing a “high.” That being said, some people prefer to avoid broad-spectrum CBD if they have to pass a drug test, as it still contains trace amounts of THC.
CBD isolate is the purest form of CBD. It’s a substance that contains only CBD molecules, and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. They are a good option for people who want to pass drug tests. However, you won’t get the health benefits from the other cannabinoids or terpenes.
When choosing a CBD edible, looking at the dose is equally as important as the source of CBD. Make sure to have a look at the milligrams of CBD per portion size. For example, you want to know how much CBD is in one gummy bear, not the whole pack.
The dose you choose is up to you, and completely dependent on the condition(s) you’d like to treat. Just make sure to start slow and work your way up, as CBD could have some unpleasant side effects on people who are not used to it, such as nausea or lethargy.
Types of products
It’s difficult to summarize all the different types of CBD edibles out there. To date, the most popular ones remain CBD gummies, chocolates and hard candy. But you can also find CBD…
- Cookies and cakes
- Chewing gum
- Coffee products
- Protein shakes
- Ice cream
- and much more!
Don’t hesitate to try the one that appeals to you the most. But remember, you should have a look at the type of CBD it contains (full-spectrum, broad-spectrum or isolate) and at the strength (milligrams of CBD per portion size) before you have a look at flavor, look and texture!
Is CBD legal?
Non-prescription CBD products are not currently approved by the FDA. However, research suggests that this molecule is effective in treating a number of conditions. We recommend consulting with a medical professional to see if prescription CBD could help your condition.
The market for CBD edible products is growing rapidly. In a few years, we can probably expect to see CBD birthday cakes, CBD bread rolls or CBD lasagna. Manufacturers are surfing the wave of CBD’s popularity with an ever-increasing array of products. But don’t let it distract you from the real focus: CBD edibles are medicinal products, and you should choose the ones that work best for you in terms of dosage and CBD type.